The New York state education department issued its annual test scores for 3rd- through 8th-graders this morning, and the takeaway is: They blow. The number of students judged proficient in English fell from 77% in 2009 to 53% this year; in math, the percent earning passing grades plunged from 86% to 61%.
The state, however, was quick to note that it had anticipated crappy scores, seeing as it had raised the scores required to pass — “cut scores,” in testing lingo — after widespread criticism that New York students had been doing better on state tests but not on national ones. The real upshot, then: New York schools aren’t any crappier than ever, it’s just that prior reports of improvement were an illusion.[read more]